(Update: Adding video, comments from Aldrich, The Giving Plate executive director)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bailey Aldrich, chosen earlier this year as Miss Oregon Volunteer 2023, paid a visit Friday to the Bend food pantry The Giving Plate. And true to her title, she wasn't stopping by to just smile and shake hands -- she was volunteering.
Originally born and raised in Medford, Aldrich earned the title after competing in and winning city-wide pageants, such as Miss Portland.
But the crown and sash... it's not something she expected from a young age.
"You know, I never thought that I would compete in a pageant. That was definitely... I took a chance," Aldrich told NewsChannel 21.
According to their website, the Miss Oregon Volunteer organization is a statewide, service-oriented program seeking to empower young women through education and opportunity.
The organization picks one woman a year to be the Miss Oregon Volunteer, and donate their time and effort to give back to the community.
On Friday, Aldrich made her way down to The Giving Plate, where she handed out bags of food to local families in need.
"Getting involved in the community here in Bend is a really great opportunity to be able to give back," she said. "And then also to hear and learn about this organization has really been a pleasure."
The Giving Plate Executive Director Ranae Staley was happy to be hosting Aldrich.
"I really am impressed with the mission of Miss Oregon Volunteer, and what they're about, what they represent, what they're inspiring in young women in our state and beyond," she said. "That's what we're about."
Each woman who competes in the volunteer program has a "serve" initiative. For Aldrich, it's mentoring.
"When it comes to mentoring, it's helping each young woman find what they are passionate about," she said. "And so by doing a variety of different volunteer experiences, my hope is to then allow those young women to have other opportunities and find what speaks to their heart."
Along with competing in pageants, Aldrich is a pre-school teacher who earned her credentials at Southern Oregon University. She hopes to take her teaching and mentoring skills and apply it to her title.
"Essentially, the hope is to continue to provide young women with opportunities to do the things that they love, and advocate for the causes they care about," Aldrich said.
She will be competing in the Miss Volunteer America Pageant in Jackson, Tennessee from June 21-24.
If you'd like to watch Aldrich or other pageant competitors in Tennessee later this month, you can visit pageantslive.com to sign up.